Groovy Growers at Dothan Brook

Growing Change May 16 2

Groovy Growers at Dothan Brook

Dartmouth’s Growing Change was excited to use its grant from Vital Communities this year to carry out the “Groovy Growers” after-school program at Dothan Brook School with 2nd and 3rd graders. The purpose of the program was to introduce the students to plant ecosystems and give them the opportunity to create their own terrariums. During the program, the students discussed the components of a terrarium and the life cycles that occur inside them. They then used their creativity to plan and build their own using mason jars, pebbles, soil, moss, and terrarium plants such as ivies and ficus.

The students were eager to learn about these plants, have a hands-on experience combining all the components of an ecosystem and take them home to care for them and watch them grow. They took home packets that outlined specifications for caring for the terrariums but also had a space where they could track the growth of the plants and record their observations. Overall, the Dartmouth and Dothan Brook students had a lot of fun and created some awesome terrariums! – Growing Change, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Spring has sprung at Newbury Elementary School!

garden may 16
Spring has sprung at Newbury Elementary School!
There’s been a lot of planning for our “lab gardens” here at NES.  Each classroom has adopted a garden or raised bed.  Our 5/6 team has committed to keeping the permaculture gardens in shape and also the perennial beds around our historic Common.  The K/1 team plans to plant a “5 senses garden”, and a 1/2 class is planning a butterfly garden.  In enrichment, we host gardeners from grades K-6 who have been making good choices in school.  This allows us to work with small groups as we work in the garden spaces.  Students in the 3/4 team have been interviewing our culinary guru, Chef Paul, to plan and plant vegetables that will be used to support the school lunch program.  Also, 3 beautiful laying hens have made their new home in back of our school.  K/1 students have enjoyed learning about their quirky habits and finding eggs each day to use in classroom projects.
Additionally, we have a robust community group that’s committed to “Grow a Row” activities and also helping Chef Paul process vegetables for the upcoming school year.  As you can see, things are really cooking at NES now that spring has finally arrived.  Our best to all of you gardeners out there! – Kim Goody, Farm to School Coordinator, Newbury Elementary School, Newbury, VT


Season-Extending Techniques for Your School Gardens

Season-Extending Techniques for Your School Gardens
Are you the lone garden volunteer at your school through the summer months? Is your school empty over summer break? Consider only growing during the school year, by using season-extending techniques like row covers and cold frames, or growing crops and flowers better suited to the “shoulder season” (spring and fall). Join Upper Valley Farm to School on a field trip to the Sullivan County Department of Natural Resources in Unity, New Hampshire. Department staff, Lionel Chute and Phylicia Schwartz will tour us through the Conservation District’s Community Garden, Demonstartion pollinator garden, and experimental high tunnels to discuss focusing school gardens to be most active in the spring and fall.

Date: Thursday, May 26, 2016
Time: 4-6:30 PM
Location: Sullivan County Complex, 95 County Farm Road, Unity, NH
Fee: FREE!

Growing and Planning in Sharon!

SignWe’ve planted our garden beds on the south facing walls. We’ve put in radishes, lettuce and carrots. It’s an early start, but with the warm weather and the sun that hits this area, we already see evidence of growth! We also are experimenting with planting some garlic. Since we are having some cooler weather now, we went out before the frost and put a few rows of garlic in. We are hoping the frost tricks it into growing! Finally, plans for our annual, Farm and Field Day, are being finalized. This year’s event will take place on May 26th! – Keenan Haley, Teacher, Sharon Elementary School, Sharon, VT

Thetford Leads the Way in Sustainable Practices

TES farmstand grade 1 dec 15 for webThetford Elementary Continues to be a model school with our award winning recycling program, school gardens, composting system, and our solar array. I am pleased to announce that VT SWEEP (Vermont State-Wide Environmental Education Programs) has recognized TES as a model school. We were invited, as one of four schools, to present part of our story at the Cultivating Climate Resiliency conference on, April 9th in Montpelier. During the workshop we highlighted the First Grade Farm Stand as a project-based learning opportunity that integrated learning standards across the curriculum. – Cat Buxton, Garden Coordinator, Thetford Elementary School, Thetford, VT

Things are Hatching in Tunbridge!


The TunReading to Chicks 4-16bridge Central School first and second grade classrooms have been busy hatching eggs. They hatched chickens the last week in March, and ducklings the first week in April. Students candled the eggs to monitor progress and growth until hatching. They also discussed the variety of chick colors and sizes once they hatched, as well as how quickly they grow. Many students, even some who are typically hesitant to read, took turns reading to the chicks. In addition to hatching chicks inside, both grades also took advantage of the warm weather outside by tilling their garden to prepare for planting. They plan to start lettuce, tomato and spinach plants in their classrooms by mid-April. – Jen Thygesen, Farm to School Coordinator, Tunbridge Elementary School, Tunbridge, VT

Farm to School Committees Get Work Done!

UVFTS Community-curriculum (17)

Last week I joined the Hartland Elementary School’s farm to school committee. Forming a farm to school committee is one of the most efficient ways to plan and deliver farm to school programming. We had a wonderful meeting and left ready to look at enhancing the already wonderful farm to school program. One of the steps we will be working on is planning for the coming year. Planning can be daunting but it can also have huge rewards. Having a farm to school committee in place can help with the development of an action plan for your program. With a well constructed farm to school committee that includes representation from teachers, administration, facilities, and food service your planning process will be inclusive and exhaustive. I would love to be part of more farm to school committees in the Upper Valley and help facilitate the planning process that meets the needs of your school. Please contact me with questions about the process and how your school can benefit.

Beth RoyBeth staff pic

Farm to School Coordinator

(802)291-9100 x105

Starting the Day with a Great Breakfast in Hartland

Hartland Breakfast 1

The Friday before vacation the first and second graders at Hartland Elementary School participated in a nutritious cooking program. They were learning about chemical changes in science with Mrs. Cramer. This included, going from a solid to a liquid, liquid to a gas and physical or chemical changes. They also learned about important components of a healthy breakfast. They were taught that our bodies need fuel for the day to learn and that we need to start out our day with good nutrition for strong bodies, clear minds, and good moods! They made healthy banana pancakes, scrambled eggs, orange juice, butter, and smoothies.

Each grade made the breakfast and then they sat down together to eat. A great way to celebrate all that we learned!

Hartland Breakfast 2

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